GIM alumnus Sameer Batra becomes CEO twice within a year led by his commitment to learn, create, and innovate
Sameer is 6 months into Wynk Limited and he is glad to have made an inter-organizational switch within Airtel. In the summer of 2016, Sameer had just received his promotion. He was made Chief Executive Officer for Mumbai Region at Bharti Airtel, an office anyone would strive for. However, this Goa Institute of Management's Class of 2000 graduate sees life a bit differently. "I have spent 17 years in the Telecom industry and I still feel I don't know enough about it. This keeps me curious, always open to learning, and excited about every single day," says the young and dynamic CEO of Wynk. Therefore, towards the end of 2017, he chose to make a strategic leap to another Bharti Airtel venture Wynk Limited.
At Wynk, a start-up by Bharti Airtel, talented and enthusiastic people are creating some of the most exciting Internet and technology products for mobile consumers. What made Sameer grab the opportunity by its sleeve? He shares, "I had to give my team a sense of purpose at work every day and a clear vision on what we are trying to do at Wynk. There are no precedents in this business, because you are pretty much creating the journey to growth. Our simple objective is to build digital products at scale and end up building the largest entertainment platforms - across music and videos - in the country. The challenge thrilled me!"
However, all these successes and achievements could not have come to Sameer overnight. What did it take to be where he is today? What does it take to ensure it all stays for the best?
Proving himself with a top brand
Sameer's association with Bharti Airtel began as a Senior Acquisitions Manager and in a decade he had become CEO, Mumbai Region. He calls the brand an entrepreneurial company that offers employees opportunities and assignments that are impactful from an early stage. "I had multiple opportunities to make a difference to our businesses in various geographies and lines. It has been a rewarding journey, personally and professionally. My biggest joy has been running large scale businesses, working with large teams, and being able to mentor young people," he adds.
Keeping an eye on the future
If you want to sustain your success in the fast paced Telecom industry, then you need to have an eye on the shape of things to come. With digital platforms, the future is already here and Sameer is right on top of it. As CEO of Wynk, which has two products Wynk Music and Airtel TV, he is part of the major digital revolution in the industry. "With incredible acceleration of smartphones in the market, affordable pricing, and the rollout of LTE network in the country, the time for digital products and consumption is here. It is a dynamic environment with its own complexities, challenges, and no precedents," he says with the enthusiasm of a fresher.
Being a leader
This eagerness to learn, zest to keep performing, and humility make Sameer very different from the image of a high flying CEO you might have in mind. But his calming presence is just what his team of "Internet Generation" professionals needs. "I believe as a leader your role is to create an environment where all employees bring their best to work every day. I work with a fiercely independent and outstandingly innovative team, many of whom are possibly brighter than me. My biggest high is getting them to have a sense of purpose at work every day," he states.
GIM takeaways for life
Sameer might have started his professional journey without a specific goal in mind, but he remembers being optimistic about the future because of the platform GIM had laid for him. Now, at the top of his career, he looks back on his transformation at the B-School and the lessons and memories that he still holds close to his heart. "Teamwork, a clear sense of purpose, and being prepared are the three takeaways from my GIM days that I still rely on. There are so many wonderful memories of my time in Goa, and I have managed to stay in touch with my batch mates. It is important to feel a sense of gratitude to institutions that have a profound impact on your life. I haven't done as much as I would like to for my alma mater, but I want to change that in the future," he signs off with a promise.